Mitridate – Illustrating an Opera, Part 5

19 Feb

For the past four weeks, I have shared the process that goes into taking a single Mozart Project photo. The picture that I have been describing is the illustration to Mitridate, Act III, which is the most well documented photograph that I have taken.

If you would like to catch up, Part 1 discusses the opera, music and design for the photograph. Part 2 tells about my trip to photograph the model. Part 3 shows various shots which were needed to make a composite image. Part 4 describes how I designed and created a Prison Tower in Miniature for the photograph.

This is the photo that I will be showing you how I made! Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

This is the photo that I will be showing you how I made! Mitridate, Act III, by Tyson Vick.

In this fifth post, I will share with you how I used all these images to make a final composite image.

Final Composite

Now, as a warning to my more sensitive readers, the curtain will be lifted, and all the mystery of this image will disappear once you learn how it is composited. You may die a little on the inside. So, if keeping the mystery alive is important to you, please, go no further.

Beware. Beware!

Trevor Ivanich as Farnace

This is the original image of Trevor Ivanich used in the composition.

Once all of my images are collected, I begin to edit them, and put them together in a digital composite. I use a program called Corel, which is like Photoshop, however where Photoshop is an all-encompassing graphics program, Corel has gradually become more focused on re-creating artistic mediums (Paints, Pencils, Brushes).

Once I have scanned the image, I give it any necessary touch-ups. These can include removing blemishes from the model, removing scratches and dust from the film, adding highlights, correcting colors, etc. Next, I cut the image out of its original background.

Trevor removed from Background

Here is Trevor, revomed from his background to be placed in the composite image.

Now, I am ready to composite.

The first thing I do is create a digital “mock-up” of the image I want to make.

Using crude cutting and pasting methods, I create a little collage with all the elements I am considering. With Mitridate, I made one mock-up with the picture of Trevor, the model, when it was first edited, and I drew solid shapes in roughly where I wanted to place background elements.

After I had photographed the Tower and wall, I made a second mock-up. During this process, I look for a natural and attractive composition of the elements.

Mitridate Mock-ups

Two Mock-up Images. The first has a background drawn in. The second has the photographic elements roughed in. Originally, I was thinking of putting boats in the harbor.

While I do build the background and foreground separately in the computer, I also add them together and adjust the elements after every little change I make. For example, I put Farnace in the picture, then I add the wall behind him. I adjust the wall and the character until they are in a good place. Then, I remove Farnace to edit the wall. These edits can include re-sizing and re-coloring, as well as adding grain.

I do this until all the elements match up, and I am pleased with the result. Sometimes I have to take some time away from the image, not looking at it, to return to it fresh and see where any issues may lie.

Mitridate Act III composite Images.

Composite of Sky and Water
This is the farthest background part of the composite. The sky, the water and the tower have been combined, color matched, matched for grain, blurred, etc.
Tower added to sky and water

The next layer is off the birds flying out of the prison tower. This image has also been matched for light, grain, color, etc. The reason there is a blank spot in the corner is because that part of the image will be covered by the wall, and so there’s no point in putting anything there.

Broken wall added to Background

Next, the Broken Wall in the foreground is added. All these elements are built around each other to yield an attractive composition.

Mitridate Act 3 by Tyson Vick

Finally, Trevor (as Farnace) is situated in the photo. Like the others, he is matched to the light, the grain and the color. Now the photo is complete.

So, now the image has gone from the text of one man’s play, to the operatic setting of another man’s music; From the interpretation of one listener’s imagination, to the execution of this idea in real life. Which, hopefully, will interest somebody else in returning to the original play, and the whole process will start again, as our lives are connected by music, drama, emotional truth, friendship, adventure and life!

Mitridate Libretto, Sketch, Photo

The original title page to the Mitridate Libretto which inspired my Farnace sketch which was brought to life by Trevor Ivanich in my Photograph!

My ultimate goal with this project, when it is finished, is to share the joy I have experienced through the music of Mozart!

Again, here is the song which my photograph illustrates, to complete my post  “Mitridate – Illustrating an Opera”. Thanks for reading!


2 Responses to “Mitridate – Illustrating an Opera, Part 5”

  1. black00swan January 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Okay, now this is getting ridiculous… But seriously, you’re like a freaking creative genius! Thanks for posting all the tutorials and the steps to your final works. It really helps underskilled artists (like moi) to grasp what they’re doing. I bow to thee, oh great one!

    • tysonvick January 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad my posts are informative. I enjoy learning how other people create art, too.

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